Jurors Weep At Toddler's Murder Trial
5 May 2016, 14:58
Members of the jury in the Liam Fee murder trial wept as a police video showing the toddler's body hours after he was found dead was viewed by the court.
The recording was taken by detectives in the early hours of the morning of March 23, 2014, at the home in Fife the two-year-old shared with his mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee and her civil partner Nyomi Fee.
Both women deny murdering Liam and falsely blaming his death on another young boy.
On day 16 of the trial at the High Court in Livingston, jurors watched the 12-minute recording which detailed every room of the property.
The final images of the video showed the young boy lying dead on his bedroom floor, dressed in his pyjamas and covered by a duvet.
A cot and buggy were sitting nearby and posters and photos could be seen on the wall.
As the recording came to an end, jurors, some of whom had been visibly upset, asked judge Lord Burns for a break in proceedings.
The two accused were also seen weeping in the dock.
The video emerged as part of evidence from witness Detective Constable Mark Falconer, a crime scene manager with Police Scotland.
The court has previously heard evidence from paramedics who had been called to the property shortly after 8pm on March 22.
Mr Falconer said he then went to the home with a police scene examiner at about 1.15am, when the video was taken.
Among the scenes recorded was the child's bedroom, the living room and hall, where numerous family photos were displayed on the walls.
In the main bedroom, cages containing small animals could be seen and Mr Falconer said he thought these were either mice or rats.
Later, a policeman told the murder trial a young boy said to him he had "strangled'' Liam because he got "more attention''.
Police Constable Sam Girdwood, 24, said he and his partner were called to the home shortly after 8pm on March 22, 2014, after receiving a report a baby was in cardiac arrest and may have been strangled by a young boy.
Pc Girdwood said he arrived and Rachel was standing with the boy who she and Nyomi are accused of falsely blaming for Liam's death.
He said: "She had a hold of the young boy and told him to tell me what had happened. He mumbled something that sounded like 'I strangled him'.''
The officer said he took the boy into a separate room from the women where he repeated the claim, and brought it up later at Glenrothes police station.
He said: "He wanted to tell me what happened. He put his hand up in the air to say he had done this to (Liam). He went on to say something along the lines of (Liam) was getting more attention than him.
"I told him it would just have been an accident and not to talk about it. He finished by saying it wasn't an accident and he meant it. I remember him saying it was Nyomi that found the baby.
"He said it was an hour before bedtime this happened, he strangled Liam, and I asked him if he had been standing there the whole time for an hour and he said 'yes because he was scared'.''
Mark Stewart QC, representing Nyomi, put to Pc Girdwood: "He did not go into this matter because you invited him to?'' and the police officer replied, "No, I did not lead him into that comment.''
The court also heard from Pc Girdwood's shift partner, Police Constable Leanne St Aubyn, 34, who said Liam's mother fell to her knees crying when she was told he was dead but Nyomi did not show "any reaction''.
She added that she checked Liam's neck but saw no markings.
Earlier on Thursday, the court heard from the partner of one of the couple's neighbours.
Edward Mullen, 51, described how he had heard female crying coming from the home on the evening of March 22.
"What I said to my partner was 'that sounds like someone got bad news next door' and I wondered did they get a call that a parent had died,'' he said.
The court has previously heard from a pathologist that Liam died from "blunt-force trauma to his torso''.
The murder charge alleges that Trelfa, 31, and Fee, 28, assaulted Liam on various occasions between March 15 and March 22, 2014. They are also accused of willfully ill-treating and neglecting two other young boys and are further accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
They deny all the charges.
The trial, before Judge Lord Burns, continues.